Glen Armstrong

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has two new chapbooks: Simpler Times and Staring Down Miracles. His work has appeared in Poetry NorthwestConduit, and Cream City Review.

The Creature in Me

Wish hard enough, and the heart
grows its own face:
 
a mouth always singing opera
through the curtains
of a partially buttoned shirt,
 
nose flattened against the breast
plate’s candy store window.
 
The heart becomes that face:
a caged human oddity
a pitiful thing with no toes or fingers,
 
a wild monologue in the dark.
 
I deserve, at least, my dignity.
 
A single glass of red wine.
A good night’s sleep.
                                                                                                              
But the little beast keeps calling
to that olive-skinned woman
whose long, black hair
ignites her bare shoulders:
 
Break me out of this dolt.
Hold me in your hand.
 
All night long:
 
Love me.

Metaphysical

Her dimensions fit
the world and beyond.
Reality TV has expressed
 
interest.
She is porous.
 
I never know if I am with
or within.
 
At home,
she sleeps in the sink.
She seasons her sweet potato hash
 
and laughs at the neighbors
when they drink too much
and try to pronounce her name.
 
Billy Bob Thornton
has no answer for the kid
 
who wants to know
how someone could drop him
on his own head,
 
but she sits him down,
gives him an Oh Henry! bar,
and tells him.

Midsummer XLVII

Reportage becomes story
Story legend
 
Before long the bloody war
That captured our imagination
 
Is reenacted
 
Likewise the facts of life
As the sixth-grade
Health instructor calls them
 
Turn wildly fictive
Incubated in whispers
 
The girls on the playground
Skip rope chanting
 
As if to a discredited deity
 
Miss Lucy has a baby
It swims like a little fish
 
And the boys cut themselves
Out of whales
 
The taste of blood and semen
 
Admittedly this
Seems a little advanced
For the school yard
 
But over the hill and far away
 
The village elders salvage zippers
From tuxedo pants.

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